Power Plates popped up into the fitness market a few years ago. Costing from £2000 to a staggering £10,000 (roughly $4000-$20,000) they’re a serious piece of kit. So what’s all the hype about and what do they do?
In this article we’re going to look at the claims they make and some of the reviews customers are posting.
What is a Power Plate and how does it work?
The plate/platform vibrates once or twice each second and by standing and exercising on it, the vibrations set off an automatic reflex in the muscle to contract. That doesn’t mean they contract and lock, but that they contract and release 20-50 times a second.
Each time the muscle fibres contract and relax they’re working and using energy (calories) so it gives a high-speed workout which saves you time because it’s so effective. The manufacturers claim that a 10 minute Power Plate work out is as effective as 60 minutes conventional training.
What does it do?
Manufacturers say that their Acceleration Training (TM) on the Power Plate will:
- Give an immediate improvement in blood circulation
- Improve muscle strength and stamina
- Improve flexibility and range of motion
- Decrease cellulite
- Increase bone density
- Reduce pain and improve recovery times
- Help reduce weight when combined with a calorie controlled diet. Researchers have shown that women who dieted and used the Power Plate 3 times each week lost twice as much weight as those who dieted and did traditional exercise routines.
What doesn’t it do?
- There are no cardiovascular benefits with the Power Plate. It’s primarily for toning and flexibility. If you want to see improved endurance stamina in your heart and lungs, look at treadmills or another CV workout.
- It’s not a single solution – it works best with other types of exercise.
- It won’t work just by standing on it. You need to work out actively while standing on it.
- Tuck neatly into a corner. It’s a big machine – but then so is a treadmill or exercise bike. It’s heavy too; models vary in their weight but 126lbs – 374lbs is the range.
How do you work out with Power Plates?
- The experts at powerplate.com recommend starting slowly and gradually increase the frequency you use the Power Plate.
- Start with 9 minutes on the resistance program – the instructions for using the Plate are simple and easy to understand – 9 minutes on the stretch, massage and relax program. All these should be done on the low frequency and amplitude setting.
- Make sure your posture is good and you do the moves consciously and as per the Power Plate instructions. The muscles are working much harder than they normally do so they need to be in the correct position to exercise.
- Keep your workouts short – no more than 30-60 seconds on each exercise you do.
- Combine exercises so that you are working 2 or more major muscle groups at a time. For example a squat and a bicep curl or front raise using stretch bands.
- Keep the knees soft and slightly bent to avoid damaging the joints.
- Make sure you drink plenty of water during and after your workout.
The instructions give clear pictures to demonstrate suggested workouts.
What do Power Plate users say?
Madonna, Kylie Minogue, singer Sting, Rachel Weisz, Courtney Cox and Elle McPherson are all Power Plate fans an you can see their testimonials on the powerplate.com website.
Five amazon.com reviewers gave it an average 4 stars out of 5. One reviewer gave it 2 stars (but didn’t seem to have tried the product) and the other 4 thought it was ‘worth the cost’, ‘completely blown away’ and ‘couldn’t be happier’.
Two tips to help you decide whether to buy a Power Plate might be:
- To ‘try before you buy’ because the price tag is hefty. Take a month’s membership to a gym with Power Plates and see if you like the experience. In today’s economy (it’s 2012) gym membership is something many people are cutting back on, so gyms are losing out. They may therefore, be flexible on their membership terms – pay as you go or pay monthly with easier get-out clauses rather than annual fees. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Check the supplier’s terms and conditions before you decide to purchase from them. If you don’t like it or find it’s become a very expensive clothes horse/dust collector, be sure you can send it back. Do your research.